For God, King, and Country

Henry anxiously watched as the town car approached the palace. The occupant, Prime Minister-designate Christine Exeter, had been elected as the Conservative Party’s leader just days earlier. She was due for her first meeting with him, where he would ask her to form a government. It was an old tradition going back centuries. It would be short, private, and to his chagrin, filled with formalities and protocol, but his sense of duty wouldn’t allow him to alter the ceremony.

He groomed his graying beard with his fingers in anticipation. In a way he felt relieved. The Tories needed new leadership if they wanted to win the next general election. The thought of a Labour PM so early in his reign was unthinkable. They were always so concerned with reform, and modernization, two things that are at odds with the ancient institution of the monarchy. Perhaps now with new leadership the people’s appetites for modernization would be sated.

A knock on the door alerted him. He walked away from the window toward a hidden button near an antique looking arm chair. The door opened and a tall, gaunt man, middle aged and balding entered.

“Mrs. Exeter has arrived, sir.” The attendant stepped aside and a woman in her late 40’s or 50’s entered, then curtsied low.

She was quite innocuous, he thought to himself. Average height, with short, mousey brown hair and she averted her eyes as a medieval courtier would. This was not the kind of woman who would make Britain’s foes quake in their boots.

Not wanting to delay Henry offered his would be PM a seat near and the two had a few moments of small talk. Upon hearing her speak Henry knew how she had so handily won the election. Her voice was deep, measured, and commanding. She spoke of her upbringing, convictions, and plans for the future. She would, he thought, be a good PM, not too radical and not weighed down by tradition or sentiment.

“Mrs. Exeter, as you know Britain is alone in a rapidly evolving world. There are people who would like to see us fail and few who want us to succeed.”

She nodded, fully aware of the duty she was about to undertake.

“This country needs strong, dedicated leadership. We cannot allow ourselves to be led off course by silly ideals or petty politics. This country was great once and it can be again. I see in you the promise of a brighter future.”

He gestured for her to approach. “Your party has selected you to be its leader and you command the confidence of the House of Commons. Therefore, as your sovereign, I ask you to form a government in my name.”

“Your majesty,” she said with a curtsy, “I would be honored. I accept.”
The King and his new Prime Minister shook hands and hoped it would be the beginning of a fruitful partnership for the country.